Leakage of urine during pregnancy causes, why it is dangerous and what to do

During pregnancy, slight urine leakage is considered physiological. As a rule, a small amount of urine flows with tension, at the time of coughing, sneezing, laughing. Of course, the phenomenon can hardly be called pleasant, but pregnant women should calm down, this is inevitable and temporary.

However, urine leakage can also indicate serious disorders in the functioning of the kidneys, bladder or urinary system. That is why it is so important to undergo regular examinations at the antenatal clinic in order to timely detect pathology and start treatment.


Experts differentiate 2 types of urine leakage during pregnancy:

  • Stress appears due to pressure on the bladder with weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, physical exertion. Usually manifests itself when coughing, laughing.
  • Imperative, that is, arising with the urge to urinate.

In addition, there is a mixed form.

The cause of leaks in early pregnancy is hormonal changes in the body. The ovaries produce an increased amount of progesterone, a hormone that makes the pelvic muscles elastic. As a result, the muscles stretch, provoking the tone of the bladder.

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In later periods (usually the third trimester), the reasons for leakage may be the following:

  • Compression and decrease in the volume of the bladder due to the pressure of the enlarged uterus. As a result, the functional activity of the bladder decreases, and not all urine is excreted from it at once.
  • The pressure of the uterus, which has increased in size, on the urethra. This causes frequent urination in small portions. In this case, the uterus also presses on the urinary reservoir, which leads to an arbitrary leakage of urine.
  • An increase in the volume of circulating blood in the female body, as well as various fluids. This becomes the reason for a decrease in kidney activity and, as a result, leaks.
  • The blows of an almost fully formed child on the urinary organ.

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If we talk about the pathological processes of urine leakage, then it can be:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, syphilis)
  • Chronic ailments (pyelonephritis, renal failure)
  • Inflammatory processes of the urinary system.
  • Cystitis.

In addition, urine leakage can be the cause of the abnormal structure of the bladder (its mobility), the large weight of the fetus and/or the mother, during the second and subsequent pregnancies, especially if little time has passed between conceptions.

Finally, certain drinks (containing gas and caffeine) and medications (diuretics, antidepressants) can aggravate the situation and increase the incidence of involuntary urine leakage.

clinical picture

In most cases, leakage is accompanied by frequent urge to urinate, most of which are false. Experiencing a frequent desire to urinate, the woman notes a decrease in the volume of urine excreted (especially in the last months of the “interesting” situation). A feeling of incomplete emptying of the urinary reservoir is also possible.

With the pathological nature of the leakage, the above symptoms may be joined by:

  • A burning sensation, distention in the genital area.
  • Soreness of urination, the presence of traces of blood in the urine.
  • Pain in the lumbar region, groin, lower abdomen.
  • Increased body temperature.
  • Abnormal discharge.
  • The appearance in the urine of sediment, “flakes”.

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Why is leakage dangerous?

Physiological leakage is not dangerous. However, with the voluntary leakage of urine caused by inflammation, there is always a risk of premature delivery or miscarriage.

Almost all sexually transmitted diseases cause gene mutations in the fetus, causing a delay in its development. With kidney problems, there is a high likelihood of developing acute renal and heart failure, as well as coma and death of a woman.

Urine leakage is important to distinguish from amniotic fluid leakage. The latter threatens with low water, which means fetal hypoxia. In this case, all of its systems (primarily the brain) are affected. Hypoxia can provoke fetal developmental disorders, cord entanglement and fetal death.


Only a doctor can determine if leakage is normal or indicates abnormalities. First, he will make a visual examination – the condition of the mucous membranes and the cervix in this case may become a reason for a more detailed study.

On a mandatory basis, pregnant women take blood and urine tests. The presence of erythrocytes and proteins in urine in an amount higher than the norm indicates inflammatory processes of the genitourinary system. Further actions of the doctor in this case are urine culture to identify the type of pathogens of the pathology.

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If the benefit to the mother outweighs the potential risk to the fetus, the following types of research are performed:

  • Ultrasound of the pelvic organs.
  • MRI (not done in the first trimester)
  • CT (computed tomography) of the urinary system.

In late pregnancy, just before childbirth, it is important to differentiate whether the leak is urine or drops of amniotic fluid.

What to do and how to treat?

To the question of what to do when a leak is found, there is the only correct answer – to rush to the doctor for further diagnosis, and, if necessary, treatment.

If viruses and bacteria are found in the urine, a gentle type of antimicrobial therapy is prescribed. With significant inflammation, antibiotics are indicated, but the type of drug and dosage should always be determined by the doctor.

If natural (non-pathological) urine discharge occurs, no treatment is required. Usually, experts recommend the following measures:

  • Wearing underwear for pregnant women, and from the second trimester – a bandage, which prevents squeezing of the bladder and the formation of stretch marks on the skin.
  • Monitor the amount of fluid consumed, stop drinking water, tea, juices at night. They can be replaced with a juicy unsweetened fruit (apple) or a glass of kefir.
  • Avoid foods that cause thirst, reduce the amount of salt in foods,
  • Lead an active lifestyle in accordance with the situation, be more outdoors.
  • You can’t tolerate urinating if you want to. When emptying, with the release of the last portions of urine, you should bend forward slightly. This will allow the urine to drain completely from the bladder.
  • When coughing, sneezing, you need to try to close your mouth, this will reduce the pressure on the diaphragm and the bladder and save you from leakage.
  • After consulting with your doctor, you need to choose Kegel exercises that are allowed for pregnant women. Performing them regularly will help strengthen the muscles of the perineum.
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    Tatyana Jakowenko

    Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

    For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

    He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.